Vim's :x command

, posted

In short: Vim has :x which is basically the same as :wq but slightly less typing.

The first time I opened Vim, it was an accident. In a mad panic, I started smashing keys. What was this wretched program? Soon, Vim presented me with a message telling me to type :quit to exit Vim. This was the first Vim command I ever learned.

After spending more time with Vim, I learned the :q shorthand. This is an example of Vim users’ hatred of the extra keystroke. Instead of typing :write and then :quit to save and quit, you can type :wq.

Most Vim users I’ve met know about :wq, but a big slew of people (including me, until recently) don’t know they can trim a keystroke with the (nearly) equivalent :x command. To quote Vim’s documentation on the command:

Like :wq, but write only when changes have been made.

I use :x instead of :wq every time and haven’t encountered a problem—it’s rare that you need to update the modification time of a file with no other changes.

This has saved me thousands of keystrokes throughout my Vim career. I thought it was worth sharing with the world!